Artist advertises for corpse to dance with
Controversial Icelandic artist Snorri Ásmundsson has posted up an advert on Facebook asking for corpses to use in a work of art. "If you are about to die, I would like to use your bodily remains for a video work. The corpse will be returned to the undertaker in the same state it arrived in," writes Ásmundsson.
In an interview with mbl.is, Ásmundsson says that he first advertised for corpses in the autumn of 2008. "It was in all the media in Iceland and I had strange articles written about me. Some people contacted vicars asking their opinion. People had decided that I was about to do something really unethical with those corpses. It's nothing like that. But then the economic crash happened so I put the project on hold. "
In 2008, nearly twenty people offered use of their corpse for Ásmundsson's artwork, and one of them was an Icelander on his deathbed. "A man suffering from a fatal illness contacted me at the time. But a few months later he had recovered and he called me back. He says that his recovery must have been due to this project. "
Ásmundsson adds that people tend to get the wrong idea. " I could have gone to China or to Mexico to buy corpses," he explains. "I'm not interested in that. I'm not a sociopath," he says and laughs. "I want to do this art project in collaboration with the deceased person with respect to them and their family."
When asked about what exactly he intends to do with the corpse he explains that it's a dance piece. "I'm going to dance with the dead."
Many have wondered today whether such an act is legal in Iceland. Ásmundsson has hired a lawyer who has written up a contract between the artist and the dying. "Legally, I have every right to do this. I've never heard that it's illlegal and I've never heard of anyone doing this before. " He adds that the corpse does not have to be an Icelandic one. "All I'm looking for is someone who is ready to participate in the project. "